Nine years ago, I went back to the Philippines in search of master haranistas. Watch the clip here from Harana the Movie of the road trip to Catanauan in Quezon Province. Cinematography by Peggy Peralta.
ANG TIKBALANG - Background, music, lyrics and translation
In Philippine lore, tikbalang are humanoid forest creatures known for having the head of a horse and disproportionally long legs, with sharp spikes in its mane, red glowing eyes, and often portrayed smoking a cigar. They are known as tricksters who lead travelers astray. It is said that some become insane after an encounter with a tikbalang. In other parts of the country, they are known as “benevolent guardians of the elemental kingdoms”.
In the production Aswang the Concert, Tikbalang is the ancient guardian of the ancestral forests and the realm of the spirits. He is strong, mighty and fierce, with a wicked sense of humor. He has been in existence even before the world was formed by the gods Magbabaya, Kanlanon, Bathala and Kabunyan. After centuries of humanity’s continuing wars and destruction, he would rather keep people out of the forests entirely. Any one who loses their way in Tikbalang’s realm is forced to look deep within themselves and face the darkness in their soul. Only those willing to wrangle with their inner demons are able to come out of Tikbalang’s labyrinth, a transformed being.
Verse 1 Estranghero, Sa'n yong tungo? Ika'y wala sa 'yong teritoryo. Estranghero, Sa'n yong tungo? Sadya mo ba'y dito sa impiyerno? O naligaw lang ba ang iyong landas, Ay! Pagtakbo sa yong nakalipas O 'kaw ba lamang ay dumadayo, Ay! Patungo sa iyong kalabuyo. Dito rito, O sa may kanto Kanan, kaliwa o deretso Pasikut sikot Hwag matakot Kahit 'kaw lang ay paikot-ikot.
Verse 2 Sino nga ba ako? Ayon sa kwento Ng mga nanay nyo Ako daw ay isang diablo Ngunit ang katotohanan ay Sa gubat ako'ng tagabantay. Mula sa karahasan ng mga taong nanggagahasa ng kalikasan Maging matanda man o bata, d'laga o binata w'lang kinalaman, basta't sumisindi't nagsusunog nagpuputol, bumabatak, nangdurukot, namamaril, nagsisibak, nagkakalat, W'lang galang sa nuno sa punso!
Verse 3 Nu’ng panahon namin ni Magbabaya, Kanlaon, Kabunyan at Bathala, Silang tagalikha, lahat nating kapwa. Bagaman, datapwa’t, sapagkat, gayunman, subalit, Yumapyap, humitrit at sumatsat Puro ka daldal, Yabang, ang kapal. Mga sinaunang puno’t Kagu hu batang nilalang, Ay aking pinalaki Kahit hapo sa pagsilbi.
Ako’y nangalaga sa inyo Tiniyak na kayo ay ligtasin Upang inyong tamasahin Nyaring buhay Matiwasay.
Aking nasaksihan Inyong kadupangan.
Nahan iyong budhi…
At ano’ng ginawa mo? Mga puno’y winalang galang Mga nilalang, pinaslang, Nagi kang hayup ka’t isang mangmang! Di ka karapat-dapat Maski ano’y hindi sapat Bilang iyong kaparusahan
Layas sa aking gubat!
Fandangueros, Isa, dalawa, tatlo
REPEAT VERSE I and 2
Ako’ng tagabantay! END
VERSE 1 Stranger, Where do you think you’re going? You are no longer in your territory�Stranger, Where do you think you’re going? Did you intend to come to this hell? Or perhaps you simply lost your way, Ay! As you flee from your past Or are you merely passing by, Ay! On your way to your secret mistress? Here, over here! Or over there around the corner Go right, left or straight ahead Wandering all over the place? Fear not Though you may be running in circles.
VERSE 2 Who am I, you ask? According to your mothers’ tales They say I am the devil But the truth is I am the guardian of the forest Against the aggression of those who rape nature Be they old or young, Maiden or man Doesn’t matter They burn, they slash, pull Steal, hunt, chop, pollute They show no respect for the Ancestor of the mound!
In our days with the gods Magbabaya, Kanlaon, Kabunyan and Bathala They who created everything and all of us.
Even though, however, because Whereas, nevertheless Yapping, full tilt gabbing You keep chattering Full of pride, full of yourself! The very first trees and Creatures of the forest I nurtured them Until I was exhausted I took care of you Ensured your safety So you can enjoy This life In tranquility
I witnessed Your terrible selfishness Where is your conscience?
And what did you do? You had no respect for the trees You killed the creatures You turned into a brutal fool You are not worthy Nothing is ever enough As your punishment